This is something that happened a couple of years ago and even though it’s such a bonkers and interesting story, I never got the chance to share it on the blog.
As a writer you often have odd and specific questions that come up during your draft. And since I was writing a book about a real historical person, I was heavily researching all the time. Most of the novel takes place in 1958 and during that time, John Lennon was a student at the Liverpool College of Art. So I was trying to dig up any information about teachers, summer assignments, general environment, etc. But I couldn’t find a whole lot in relation to John… mostly because he hated going to school and caused so much trouble there, he got kicked out lol.
As I was Googling this very specific question, I found a Facebook group for those who attended the college at the time. There was this guy from Liverpool that had randomly commented something on that page. I thought he seemed pretty sharp,. It was a long shot that he would have actually been in Lennon’s year (’58) or had a class with him or anything, but he had at least been a student and would know some of my specific questions about the college. So I sent him a message.
Just want to say, I do not solicit strangers on the internet. This was a huge deal for me to do this, really. When he wrote me back I was overjoyed that he would want to talk to me! My heart was pounding so hard. I mean, this was a person that walked the same halls as a Beatle, my goodness. He could’ve known someone who had an actual conversation with John or touched John’s old discarded gum on the underside of a desk for all I knew. (foreshadowing wink)
So I talked about the college with this stranger named Bill. And I didn’t dare ask him directly about Lennon, because I just figured people were tired of talking about him honestly. His strong personality was very much hit or miss in art school. But all the sudden, to my absolute astonishment, this Bill guy started telling me personal stories about John. “John and I would go to this pub and we had this secret club and we used to do this and this.” And I was like… wait… I looked up this Bill Harry guy… and holy $#!%! I WAS ACTUALLY TALKING TO ONE OF JOHN’S BEST FRIENDS FROM SCHOOL SUPER CASUAL ON FB MESSENGER.
I barged into Dan’s room full on shaking and sobbing.
ME: *hysterical* I just got a one-degree separation from all The Beatles.
Hahaha! So anyway, even though Bill Harry went to this art school he ended up becoming a writer. And he actually even sent me some articles he wrote about John (K he’s like the nicest guy ever. First off) He ended up becoming this amazing contact. I could go to him with any questions regarding Lennon or the 1958 Liverpool music scene or anything!
I’m so happy to tell you that many of Bill’s personal stories of John made their way into the book!
I don’t know if you believe in fate, or synchronicities, or kharma. But I personally believe that I was led to talk to this person. I mean… One of John’s good friends during the exact time period the book takes place AND someone who became an accomplished writer themselves AND was still alive and accessible! It was just pretty amazing to me.
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